Over the last week I have somehow found myself volunteered to be a part of not one but TWO Secret Santa gift swaps at work. I’m not really sure how I feel about this. The office Secret Santa pool is always fraught with dangers because (1) you often don’t know your co-workers well enough to get them anything truly personal that you know they’ll like, and (2) there is usually a spending limit imposed on your shopping (in my case, $15 for one pool and $25 for the other) that prevents you from buying most types of gifts that would be winners with just about anyone. Since I feel that Secret Santa-ing chocolates is basically an admission of defeat, this year I’ve done the logical thing and decided to stick with booze. I may not know if my office-mates read Malcolm Gladwell fan or listen to Johnny Cash or could get any use out of tree ornaments or candle holders or plants or winter gloves, but I do know that if they’re remotely sane and not prohibited by religious or medical reasons, they will enjoy a good bottle of wine, so I’m going to get them one. Or two. And since you might be in the same situation I am (hell, you might even work in my office; there’s 2,000 of us in there), I thought it might be useful to run down a few can’t-miss bottles that will have everyone hoping you pull their name out of the hat next year. Without further ado, here are PnP’s Top Secret Santa Wines for 2011 in the $15-and-under, $20-and-under and $25-and-under categories:
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Tags: bargain wines, cameron hughes, campillo, christmas, dr. l, Juan Gil, kung fu girl, lot 179, QPR, secret santa, sisters run, value wines, wine blog, wine gift, wine reviews
Categories : Tips & Tricks
Apologies for the long delay between reviews — I was fully planning on writing a new post on Wednesday, but those good intentions were interrupted when a tornado hit my neighbourhood in western Calgary…yes, it takes an act of God to tear me away from PnP. Thankfully, aside from a children’s playset that was thrown from our backyard halfway over our neighbour’s fence and is now teetering on the brink of “structurally unsound”, we didn’t suffer any damage, and nobody in the area was hurt. I think “I was in a tornado” is probably the ultimate “dog ate my homework” excuse for not doing something on time, so I will shamelessly rely on it here.
Believe it or not, this is the 50th wine review that I’ve posted on Pop & Pour! Not sure if that indicates anything other than that I drink a lot of wine, but it’s definitely milestone-y, so in honour of the occasion I was planning on pulling out a really nice bottle from my “good fridge” downstairs. However, then I realized that I was having Chinese food for supper. Between the spice, the sweetness and the deep-fried nature of most Chinese takeout menu items, it pretty much eliminates red wine from your pairing arsenal and cries out for an off-dry (i.e. slightly sweet, to handle the sweeter sauces and offset the spice), highly acidic (to cut through the frying fat) white…wait, what’s that? Did German Riesling just go with ANOTHER type of food? Amusingly, the Riesling that I had on hand that best fit the bill for Chinese might also be the cheapest bottle in my whole cellar: the 2009 “Dr. L” Riesling, available basically anywhere booze is sold, which I got at the Superstore liquor store for $13. Read the rest of this entry »
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Tags: 2009, dr. l, dr. loosen, german wines, loosen bros, mosel, QBA, qualitatswein, Riesling, wine reviews, wine scores
Categories : Wine Reviews
So I’m still sick, making this currently the most wine-free wine blog on the Internet. Since I can’t DRINK wine right now, I’m doing the next best thing, which is THINKING about drinking wine, and to pump up the anticipation for my triumphant return to vino I thought I’d get your input about what bottle I should crack on that illustrious occasion. I have picked four wines that have been tangentially featured or mentioned in previous PnP posts, and now it’s up to you to decide which one will get top billing in my next review…whichever one gets the most votes by the time my illness goes away (hopefully sometime this weekend if there’s any justice in this world) will be the lucky winner. Without further ado, the very first Pop & Pour Wine Poll:
Here’s a little additional info about each of the four contenders and their PnP history:
- 2008 Mercer Estates Dead Canyon Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon: I reviewed Mercer’s $30ish Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington State at the end of March (see the review here) and liked it (88 points), but to me it actually didn’t live up to Mercer’s own significantly cheaper $20ish Dead Canyon Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon. I’ve had the DCR multiple times before (I tend to pounce on wine that good for that price), but I’ve never written it up on the blog…yet.
- 2007 Amavi Cellars Syrah: I had the 2005 vintage of this wine in mid-March and absolutely adored it (see the review here) — I gave it 92 points at the time, and in retrospect I might even want to bump that up another point. It was everything higher-end Syrah should be: fruity, meaty, savoury, long, lingering and endlessly complex. I’ve now obtained the 2007 version of Amavi’s Syrah and am dying to see if it lives up to its predecessor.
- 2008 Enzo Boglietti Dolcetto d’Alba: I TRIED to review this wine once before, back in mid-April, but it only took a sniff and a sip to force me to change plans and write about how to detect corked wine instead — yecch. I saved my ruined bottle, and the Ferocious Grape was good enough to take it back and give me a replacement, no questions asked. I now sort of feel like I owe Enzo a mulligan and have been waiting for the right time for a take two on his Dolcetto.
- 2009 Loosen Dr. L Riesling: When I reviewed Charles Smith’s Kung Fu Girl Riesling in early April, I suggested that the only entry-level (sub-$20) Riesling that I’ve had that could go toe to toe with KFG was Loosen’s Dr. L, which is available at Superstores everywhere for around $15. At some point I will do a Dr. L vs. KFG head to head taste-off, but I figure I owe Dr. Loosen a starring role in a review first.
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Tags: amavi, d'alba, dead canyon ranch, dolcetto, dr. l, dr. loosen, enzo boglietti, loosen, mercer, poll, pop & pour, Riesling, Syrah, washington state, wine reviews, wine scores
Categories : Miscellaneous
Since I went higher-end last time and reviewed a wine that was likely too expensive, too uncommon and too mediocre for anyone reading this to ever try it, I thought tonight I would go with a wine that you can find EVERYWHERE and that comes in at under $20 CDN: the Kung Fu Girl Riesling by Charles Smith Wines in Washington State. You’ve probably seen the black and white labels of Charles Smith’s line of value wines, which also include the Velvet Devil Merlot and Boom Boom Syrah, in almost every liquor store you’ve been in over the past few years; I got this one at Superstore Liquorstore for $17. Smith is an icon on the Washington wine scene, partly due to his bizarre background (he was a rock band manager before becoming a winery owner, and still has the hair to prove it), partly because he’s a natural born marketer, and partly because he’s becoming increasingly adept at combining solid quality with value price in a bottle of wine. He has a few Serious Wine labels like his K Vintners production line, which focuses on pricy and top-quality Syrah from some of the best vineyards in the State, but his main focus seems to be on his more budget-conscious lines. This Riesling is actually a single-vineyard bottling (quite surprising at this price — usually cheap wines are blends from multiple vineyards), from the Evergreen Vineyard due west of Spokane in eastern Washington. Read the rest of this entry »
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Tags: 2010, charles smith, dr. l, dr. loosen, evergreen vineyard, kill bill, kung fu girl, new world, Riesling, washington state wine, white wine, wine reviews
Categories : Wine Reviews